The Reviews are In!

Reviews for my new book, Nothing But a Song, are in! And it looks like it’s a hit.

Read the review from Jane E. Wohl, poet and author below:

Keri De Deo’s new book, Nothing but a Song, (Crystal Publishing, Fort Collins, Co.2018. 132 pp.) demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit and shows readers the healing power of music. The book begins with a car crash that involves Rebecca and her boyfriend. The boyfriend dies, and Rebecca is left with severe hearing loss caused by a traumatic brain injury.  Rebecca has always been a singer, but now her hearing loss makes her feel that she can no longer do what she loves.  With the help of a number of people, Rebecca learns to sing again, using visual aids and learning to feel the vibrations rather than the actual tones themselves.  This story provides a wonderful guide for recovering from tragedy and learning to trust both friends and one’s own instincts.

De Deo’s prose is clean and straightforward. Her dialogue is believable. She clearly has an ear for the way kids talk. A musician herself, De Deo helps readers feel the devastating loss that Rebecca feels. She shows how isolating deafness can be in a hearing, and sound-filled world.

As the book progresses, De Deo shows Rebecca becoming more aware of her other senses. She notices the visual world around her and pays attention to people’s facial expressions in ways that she would not have had she been relying on her hearing.

This story is uplifting and engaging. It’s completely appropriate for middle school readers and up. Readers who are musicians will be particularly interested in the ways the Rebecca relearns to reconnect with her own musical talent.

Jane E. Wohl

For more reviews, see Lulu.com and Goodreads! Available on Amazon.com–e-book coming soon!!

Thanks for reading!
Keri
@thewittyowl

My Favorite Fitness Apps

Images of Keri in 2012 and in 2016

Written by Keri De Deo
Also featured on Be Live Stay Well

If you’ve been looking for the perfect fitness app, then you’ve probably noticed the thousands out there. So, how do you know which one works for you? Perhaps I can help.

At one time, I weighed 315 pounds (at 5’7”). Today, I’m 125+/- pounds lighter. It took time, determination, hard work, and several tools to accomplish that. Options to lose weight numbers in the thousands, and you have to find what works for you—even if you have to change it up from time-to-time. If you find one thing works for a while, but then you hit a stall, don’t be afraid to move on to something else. Consistency is great, and I have seen people lose weight from eating the same thing every day, but I crave variety, so that didn’t work for me. I moved from one app to another as my needs changed, and although that took countless hours perusing and sampling fitness apps, it helped keep me motivated. I hope my research can help you find the right app (or several) that will help you meet and maintain your fitness goals. To me, a perfect app has the following options:

  • Flexibility
  • Optional meal planner
  • Generated shopping list
  • Exercise tracker
  • Multiple nutrition tracker (carbs, protein, etc.)
  • Reminders & schedulers to keep me on track
  • Water intake

Not everyone wants the same thing from their tracker, so I attempt to provide a variety of pros & cons beyond my own criteria. Many of these apps have websites as well, so if you prefer to do your tracking online rather than through a mobile app, this option exists.


My Fitness Pal (MFP)

I list this first because it is the most well-known, and I have used it, but I ultimately uninstalled it.

ProsImage of MFP displays

  • 10 million downloads
  • Calorie-Tracker
  • Large database
  • Calculates calorie intake for
  • Connects with other apps like Fitbit, Misfit, and more
  • Keeps track of nutrition beyond calories, such as protein, carbs, fat, etc.
  • Reminder if you don’t log in regularly
  • Connect to other members
  • Keeps recipe records
  • Barcode scanner

Cons

  • Can’t plan meals ahead
  • No provided meal plan
  • Relies on standard weight loss goals and not completely flexible (I do better by eating under 1200 cal.)
  • No shopping list

Loseit! app displaysLose It!

This is another popular app.

Pros

  • 5 million downloads
  • Similar to My Fitness Pal
  • Provides more images, charts, and visuals than MFP
  • Recipe builder
  • Links to Misft, Fitbit, and other apps
  • Analyzes eating and exercise patterns and provides feedback for improvement
  • Connects to friends
  • Provides challenges & competitions

Cons

  • Not as large a database as MFP
  • Free edition is limited. It’s only $3.00 per year, but I prefer FREE or at least a one-time charge rather than a subscription.
  • Can’t plan meals ahead
  • No provided meal plan
  • Relies on standard weight loss goals and not completely flexible
  • No shopping list
  • No reminders
  • Focused only on dietary goals

Ultimately, I uninstalled this app because of the fees and inflexibility.


Sparkpeople Homepage linkSpark People

Not many people have heard of Spark People, but it’s been out there for years—well before the fitness app craze. The best part is that it’s free, and although I don’t use it all the time, I have never uninstalled it. It’s like an old friend I keep visiting.

Sample menu checklist from SparkpeoplePros

  • 1 million downloads
  • Pre-planned meal plan
  • Flexibility
  • Shopping List
  • Calorie & carb counters
  • Barcode scanner
  • Articles for information, inspiration, and motivation
  • Links to Fitbit, Misfit & other apps
  • Recipes
  • Recipe builder
  • Can plan ahead and check off what you eat
  • Add food as needed
  • Visuals
  • Reminders

Cons

  • No custom reminders
  • Only focused on dietary goals
  • Limited exercises tracking
  • Not always easy to use

For the longest time, this was my favorite app. I still have it installed, even. I loved the pre-planned meals and the fact that I could change them to suit my own needs, but changing the meal plan is easiest on the website, and I wanted to do that in the app on my phone rather than going online. I also needed custom reminders. If I didn’t click on the app, I would forget about it. I also get bored, so I needed a change.


Diet Point MenuDiet Point

This app gives you a diet plan and reminders to help you follow it. It allows you to choose from several options. I paid for this app at 50% off, and I purchased Ulla, their water-drinking reminder device. It doesn’t quite have everything I want, but I’m using it.

Pros

  • 1 million downloads
  • Pre-planned meal plans
  • Shopping list
  • Motivational messages
  • Reminders
  • Great tips
  • Focuses on water intake, too

Cons

  • Shopping cart is for one person, and it lists amounts you never buy (for example, 2 oz. of blueberries!). This changes for each diet.
  • Pro version has the most diet options
  • No checklist (you either eat what they tell you or not)
  • Doesn’t really count calories…you just eat what it says and when
  • No exercise tracking
  • Can’t customize diet plan

If you just want a food plan to follow, then this is the app for you. If you can’t find the exact options you want in the free version, then expect to pay for the Pro version. Watch for ads to get it for 50% off, which I did—otherwise it’s a little expensive as far as apps go. I have been using this, but will more than likely will uninstall it.


My Diet Coach (PRO)Two images in My Diest Coach App: one before cartoon and one after cartoon with cute clothes

This app is just fun. You get an avatar that you can dress! I broke my own rule on this one and paid for it! That’s how much I love this app.

Pros

  • 10 million downloads
  • Fun with visuals
  • Has an avatar that you can dress and stylize
    • Earn new clothing & accessories as you use the app.
  • Customized reminders
  • Food log
  • Can plan ahead and check off items as you go
  • Can add meals & quick foods as needed.
  • Can plan recurring meals (For example, if you have a protein shake every morning, then you can schedule that every morning.)
  • Challenges beyond dietary goals
  • Help with setting goals
  • Panic button! (I LOVE this!)

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer pre-planned menus, but does provide examples
  • Not a large database
  • Not all features are included in the free version
  • No shopping list

The best feature is the Panic button. Clicking the “Panic” button gives you advice based on what challenge you’re facing. This is my favorite app so far, and I’m not planning on uninstalling it anytime soon. This app combined with the bonus app below truly help me be healthier and happier.


Fabulous App menu items to feel great, lose weight, sleep better, and be more focusedBonus App: Fabulous

This app goes beyond simply diet & exercise. It helps focus your mind and spirit along with your body. It provides newsletters, challenges, videos, reminders, all with motivating music! All activities are designed to give you a happier life.

I recommend adding this app to any fitness app. You won’t regret it, and it’s FREE!

Of course, this is not a complete list. There are too many out there to provide a complete evaluation; however, these are the ones I have used, so hopefully, this provides you with some help in finding the perfect app for you. Just remember that you don’t have to stick to just one app. If you don’t like one, move on. Just used to it before investing any money.

Here’s to a happy, healthy life!

Keri De Deo